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Keep Out! Giveaway and Interview!

Giveaways, Interviews

It’s book launch and give-away time! 

Today, we’re celebrating the US launch of Hélène Boudreau’s junior chapter book, Keep Out! (fiction for 6-9 year olds) with illustrations by Diane Lucas.

A bit about the author: Hélène grew up on an island on the East Coast of Canada and now writes fiction and non-fiction for kids from her land-locked home in Ontario.

Her debut middle grade novel, Acadian Star, was nominated for the 2009-2010 Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award. Keep Out! is her second work of fiction, with her third, Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings being released this December. She has also written 5 non-fiction books for children.

A bit about the book: In Keep Out! Lucas and Andre try to solve the mystery of who, or what, has destroyed the endangered piping plover’s nest of Prince Edward Island National Park. And Lucas hatches a plan to get Andre to keep his dirty socks on his side of the room!

*Read to the end to find out how YOU CAN WIN A COPY!

Hiya, Hélène! Now is the time to get the story behind the story. What was your inspiration for writing Keep Out! ? 

Keep Out! started as a back and forth e-mail exchange between me and my own twin nephews, Lucas and Andre. They were 8-9 at the time and loved books like Geronimo Stilton so I decided to write a book for them–and make them the stars of the story. The book is set in their home province of Prince Edward Island where I had worked for a summer as a Park Interpreter with the National Park Service. I borrowed some of the themes of wildlife preservation from my work there.

Talk about your process of writing Keep Out!.

Once I had about half of the book written, I sent it to my nephews to read via e-mail, since they lived 3 provinces away. It was really inspiring to hear their reactions and it gave me the motivation to finish the book and complete the second volume as well. When it came time to revise the books to be published, Lucas and Andre were already 12 (that’s how long it takes to get books published! LOL) but my own daughters were 6-8 at that point. They really helped by reading over my manuscripts, pointing out the ‘hard words’ and letting me know when one of my jokes fell flat. It is really useful to live with your target audience!

There’s a second book? Are there plans to publish the second volume?

Yes! I’m happy to say that Nimbus Publishing signed on for both books at the same time.  The series is called RED DUNE ADVENTURES, owing to the red sand dunes Prince Edward Island is so famous for and the second book (out next spring) is called Water Hazard. It is another eco-adventure mystery.

Thanks, Hélène! Best of luck with the US release of Keep Out!. Here is the book trailer and links to the first chapter and the teacher’s guide:

Read the first chapter: HERE

Download the Teacher’s Guide: HERE

Readers, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Hélène’s new book, leave a comment below, and our random generator will choose a lucky winner on Thursday.  You’ll get extra entries for sharing a link on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter (please mention each link in a new comment).

And don’t forget to check out Hélène’s other books, Acadian Star and upcoming Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings, available in bookstores and online. To read reviews or excerpts from her books, visit Hélène’s website!



  1. denizb33  •  Oct 5, 2010 @1:27 am

    I love hearing about your writing process Hélène! Can’t wait to read Keep Out! :-)

  2. Lee Mandel  •  Oct 5, 2010 @4:55 am

    This sounds like a wonderful story. I can’t wait to read it and share it with my own kids. Keep up the good work, Helene.


  3. Andrea  •  Oct 5, 2010 @5:19 am

    I always love to hear about children’s books about the environment – yay! And it’s nice to see a Canadian author profiled. The story behind the story is interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Jessica Subject  •  Oct 5, 2010 @5:54 am

    Keep Out! sounds like a great book that I would love to read to my children.

    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/?status=Stana%20Katic%20Interview%20CASTLE%20http://bit.ly/a19dts#!/jsubject/status/26445696548

  5. Jessica Subject  •  Oct 5, 2010 @5:57 am

    Sorry, wrong tweet. Something wrong with new Twitter. I hope this is the right one.

  6. Sara Zoe  •  Oct 5, 2010 @6:53 am

    This is perfect! We really need more books for this age range … I’d also love to see, in addition to great realistic fiction mysteries like this, some other genres for the pre-Middle Grade readers.

  7. Sam  •  Oct 5, 2010 @7:28 am

    Sounds like a great book!

  8. Inspired Kathy  •  Oct 5, 2010 @7:38 am

    Please enter me. Sounds like a wonderful book.

  9. Inspired Kathy  •  Oct 5, 2010 @7:41 am
  10. Inspired Kathy  •  Oct 5, 2010 @7:42 am
  11. Karen B. Schwartz  •  Oct 5, 2010 @8:31 am

    Congrats, Helene! Sounds like a fun book!

  12. Cathe Olson  •  Oct 5, 2010 @8:44 am

    I too am always on the lookout for younger middle-grade fiction. Can’t wait to read the book.

  13. Mindy Alyse Weiss  •  Oct 5, 2010 @8:54 am

    Congrats, Hélène! I can’t wait to read Keep Out–it looks like a great mystery. Thanks for sharing your process with us. You’re right, it definitely helps to live with our target audience. :)

  14. Sharon  •  Oct 5, 2010 @10:08 am

    I love reading about the writing process, and did you know that Helene is a very funny person? I hope she’s practicing ‘safe snacking’ at this very moment, while typing something terrific…

  15. kisah j.  •  Oct 5, 2010 @10:11 am

    this sounds great! i know that my godkids will love this!

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

  16. Erin D.  •  Oct 5, 2010 @10:24 am

    I can’t wait to read this book! I’m always on the lookout for new mysteries.

  17. Helene Boudreau  •  Oct 5, 2010 @10:27 am

    Sharon, I actually GOL’ed (guffawed out loud, fyi) at your ‘safe snacking’ crack because I am noshing on almonds Right At This Very Minute. *reaches for compressed air to blow bits out from between keys*

    Mindy, I <3 having the chicklets as first readers. Plus, they're TOUGH. It helps that my littlest is MUCH funnier than I am and helps with the jokes. ;-)

    Sara & Cathe! I’ll actually be doing a blog post about great lower middle grade fiction in November. There is SO much good stuff out there.

    Andrea, it’s been really fun to write an environmentally-themed mystery; especially one set in an area of Canada I absolutely adore! It’s also been enlightening to hear stories from readers about their own experiences with endangered species. There’s something really special about caring for a species to keep it from becoming extinct. Kids, especially, seem to understand this, innately.

    Thanks for commenting and helping to spread the word about the giveaway, everyone!

    Bonne chance!

  18. Laurie Beth Schneider  •  Oct 5, 2010 @11:12 am

    As a wannabe Canadian who has always dreamed of going to Prince Edward Island what can I say but “Cool!”

    I’ve taken to running my MG jokes past my 11-year-old daughter. Even an eye roll is gratifying.

  19. colleen kosinski  •  Oct 5, 2010 @11:13 am

    Cute trailer!

  20. Laura Marcella  •  Oct 5, 2010 @11:31 am

    My nephews would like this! I’ve always wanted to visit PEI (ever since I read Anne of Green Gables) so I’m sure I’ll like it, too!!! Thanks for a great interview. :)

  21. Aimee Brown  •  Oct 5, 2010 @1:00 pm

    Sounds like a fun book and a great way to get to know an area we’ve never been!

  22. Cindy  •  Oct 5, 2010 @1:16 pm

    Would love a copy… thanks!

  23. Diana Greenwood  •  Oct 5, 2010 @1:21 pm

    Congrats, Helene! Sounds like a great read for this audience. Off to re-post this news.

  24. Michelle Dubois  •  Oct 5, 2010 @2:35 pm

    I’m so excited about reading this book to my boys and girls. I love the fact that it’s based in PEI and is great for teaching my boys and girls about the provincial differences.

  25. Lisa DeWolf  •  Oct 5, 2010 @2:57 pm

    Great reads by a great author. Looking forward to all your future writings.

  26. Liz Straw  •  Oct 5, 2010 @4:31 pm

    Count me in! I can’t resist MG book give aways. I have looked this one over a few times and thought it sounded interesting!

  27. The Book Maven  •  Oct 5, 2010 @8:20 pm

    This one looks good! Please enter me in the giveaway.

  28. The Book Maven  •  Oct 5, 2010 @8:23 pm

    Here’s the link to my FB post about your giveaway!


  29. June Morgan (chorkie)  •  Oct 5, 2010 @8:36 pm

    Of course, I would like to enter! I have difficulty keeping good books for that age.

  30. Llehn  •  Oct 5, 2010 @11:07 pm

    Love the trailer!

  31. Carol  •  Oct 6, 2010 @7:09 am

    Sounds like a really fun book. I have to agree I love the trailer too. CUTE!

    I twittered & will do so @OnlyMe3074

  32. Lynn  •  Oct 6, 2010 @8:32 am

    Helene, so exciting! Sounds like the boys will like this one too!

  33. Patricia Cruzan  •  Oct 6, 2010 @9:18 am

    It’s interesting to find out that your book came from an e-mail exchange with your nephews.
    Congratulations on getting a two book deal.

  34. Stephanie  •  Oct 6, 2010 @9:49 am

    Would love to read this one.

  35. Heather  •  Oct 6, 2010 @11:47 am

    I would love to be entered!

  36. Heidi  •  Oct 6, 2010 @3:42 pm

    Sounds like a fun read! And I loved hearing about your process in writing it!

  37. Michael G-G  •  Oct 7, 2010 @3:41 pm

    I love the line “it’s really useful to live with your target audience!” This looks like a great read, Helene.

  38. Helene Boudreau  •  Oct 7, 2010 @3:52 pm

    Contest closed. Thanks for entering, everyone! And thanks so much for your very kind comments. :-)

    Check the blog for the winner in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…